Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 2nd 2012, 9:12pm

Arrrggghhhh...never thought it wouldn't pass this! Well, CA smog check comes back with a fail - everything is good except for the NO PPM numbers. At 15MPH, the reading is 926 and the max allowed is 356. At 25MPH, the reading is 570 and the max allowed is 533.
Anybody have any ideas for me on how to tackle this? :banghead:
Thanks!
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby Jasen » October 2nd 2012, 9:19pm

Move to Oregon ;)

Did you do an oil change before the test. I've failed a couple times here in Washington, changed the oil, retested and passed.
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 2nd 2012, 9:24pm

No, actually I didn't do anything - just took the car over. Never had a car fail yet. Well, suppose I better do a tune-up on it, and then see if it passes. I'll change the oil too, just in case. :mrgreen:
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby astrometalvan » October 4th 2012, 4:18pm

A technician I worked with a long time ago had a Chevy Sprint Turbo he raced that had all kinds of aftermarket mods like cam, head, intake, injectors, exhaust, ecm, etc. It had no emission controls installed what so ever. it's catalytic converter was gutted but still in place so if anyone looked under the car it was in place.
He passed a Virginia emissions test (same standards as Cali...) every 2 years by running a tank of 110 octane avaiation fuel through the car the day of the test. the gas was expensive but the motor burned clean.
It was cheaper and easier than undoing all his high performance stuff when it was time for a smog test.
I don't know how much avgas is these days but back in 1992 it was about 3 times the price of regular unleaded gas.
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby 97cargocrawler » October 4th 2012, 4:54pm

Things I ALWAYS do before CA smog test:

Clean or replace air filter.

Blow out MAF sensor.

Do an oil change.

Clean and re-gap plugs.

Clean EGR valve.

Make sure PCV valve is free and clear of debris.

Make sure all vacuum hoses are in good condition and connected in the right location.

Buy a new gas cap. ( I have one I use just for smog tests)

Use a scantool to erase saved self diagnostic smog system data and then drive around until all tests have run and completed. (can take several hours of driving so do the day before the test)

Make sure the MIL (check engine light) is not activated.

Your numbers indicate you need a complete tune-up, but the above quick fixes might get you by for now. You're looking at maybe 2 hours worth of tinkering.

Often a new catalytic converter does wonders for all the numbers.

Good luck!
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby Lumpy » October 5th 2012, 4:14pm

97cargocrawler wrote:
Buy a new gas cap. ( I have one I use just for smog tests)



That seems like a very good idea... :rockon:


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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby paulo57509 » October 14th 2012, 12:24am

I bet 99% of all CA emission test fails are for high NOx (been there, done that).

High NOx is typically a sign of high combustion chamber temps. Causes of high combustion chamber temps?

1. EGR operation marginal or inoperative. Clogged EGR passages is one cause.
2. Lean mixture.
3. Vacuum leaks causing lean mixture.
4. Weak converter.

Questions:

1. Have you ever run the engine for any length of time with an engine mis-fire? Even an intermittent miss over time will eventually cook the converter.
2. Vehicle mileage?
3. Does the engine ping under light throttle?

Mixture readings off a scan tool would help diagnosis.

In the past three years, I've had two of my high mileage vehicles FAIL for high NOx. After lengthy diagnosis, the evidence pointed to bad cats. Replacement with CA-certified cats brought the NOx numbers back in spec. New cats actually brought the numbers down into single digits.
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 15th 2012, 9:31pm

Thanks Paulo, I appreciate the advice. I just started another thread on what to check next - the new EGR valve and tune-up brought my NO numbers down quite a bit. They are higher than average, but hundreds of points lower now and within spec. The HC numbers are now a little high for some reason and I'm not sure why? I think maybe the timing is advanced a bit too far. Also maybe I need to put a new O2 sensor in? I'm sure the cat could stand to be replaced as well, but was hoping to avoid that expense and work for a while if I could. If I can't avoid it, well, I guess that's that.
There are 117,000 miles on the van. I can't really tell any pinging, but have not had the van long enough to know it's history. Thanks for the help!
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby 97cargocrawler » October 15th 2012, 9:48pm

So it passed...or?
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 15th 2012, 11:18pm

No, it didn't pass after all that. Way closer though. Trying to decide if I should try an O2 sensor next or ??? Also the timing might be too far advanced so I have to figure out how to retard it a little if I need to...

I posted a scan of the latest test results here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=16548 HC are too high now, although NO PPM came way down.
Thanks for any help, guys!
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby 97cargocrawler » October 16th 2012, 12:25am

When you say "tune-up" what exactly are we talkin? Professional and complete or something else?

As opposed to replacing everything on the engine you might just get a new CAT. I bought one on Amazon a few months back (50 state legal Walker 81919 Universal Converter) pretty cheap, $160 shipped. I had the old one cut out and the new one welded up within a day by myself.

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It would have gone a lot quicker and smoother if the previous welder hadn't been a total f**ktard and welded several different sized couplings together to match up to the wrong sized converter.

Anyhow, if you can weld this is a cheap and easy option. If you still have the original converter you are very likely due for a new one.
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby Lumpy » October 16th 2012, 12:36am

Moving slightly off topic...

Hey Crawler...Got any tips for welding exhaust with the van on the ground? I just did a joint between the Y and the Cat. Upside down, couldn't get my helmet close to the weld, bead ended up looking like a pregnant caterpillar.


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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby 97cargocrawler » October 16th 2012, 12:49am

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: prego caterpillar :rofl:

Despite the caterpillar with child it sounds like you're getting poor penetration. It's extremely difficult to weld in that position...I know, I tore ligaments in my shoulder doing that a few years back and now it pops in and out of the socket. Not to mention you could catch your hair on fire.....not as much an issue for you.

I would use flux core wire and remove the shield from the torch nozzle. That will help you see the puddle. Make slow 1/4" wide swirlies with the torch to get decent penetration and avoid the caterpillar. Drink Milk when you're done to help with the poison you breathed in.

Best bet it to remove it from the van and weld in a comfortable position. It really requires a powerful welding machine to get a good bead. With our cheapo welders you really need to be a skilled artisan to get the same results as the HS dropout down at Midas with the Miller the size of a golfcart.

Good luck!
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 16th 2012, 1:05am

The tune-up consisted of new Bosch Platinum plugs, Bosch aftermarket wires, new cap & rotor (brass), new EGR valve - CA type, wasn't cheap, and an oil change. That got me really close. Guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get a new CAT though. Was hoping not to have to do that because right now I live in a little beach apartment, and there's no way I could do the CAT myself where I live.
How much you guys think it will set me back to have it replaced at a shop? I mean, what's a fair price I should look for?
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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby Lumpy » October 16th 2012, 2:12am

Drive to Phoenix and I'll show you a place that will do it for $140 including labor and the cat.


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Re: Crap - didn't pass CA smog check . . . any ideas?

Postby DrPop [OP] » October 16th 2012, 2:32am

Thanks for the offer, I appreciate it. ;) I think the cost of fuel from here to Phoenix and back would nix any savings though, unfortunately! :(
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